The only remnants of this rich history are the Union Station in downtown Houston, a few street names and the surviving outlying communities of Cypress, Hockley, Waller, Crosby and Spring. Of these communities the only preserved community is Old-town Spring. The rest are quickly becoming swallowed by urbanization. Hockley, Waller, and Crosby have lost all the old buildings that made up the original community centered about the depots. Old-town Spring is heavily commercialized and most structures are converted for contemporary use as antique and art shops. Little of its rich history remains for interpretation. The only remaining intact community to survive in Harris County is Cypress. Its unique preservation has occurred because the property has remained within the family of the dominant proprietor of Cypress, E.F. Juergen, who purchased the general store and several other businesses about 1898. The descendents of Mr. Juergen want to see this site and its four near 100-year old buildings preserved. These structures include Juergen Hall (1911), Juergen Store (before 1898), Delco-generator house (190?), Juergen home (~1919).
WHAT CAN WE SAVE?
Juergen Hall (Click on all photos for larger view!)
Dance and meeting halls were extremely popular about the turn of the last century and this was especially true in communities dominated by German, Polish and Czech immigrants. They are distinctive features of central Texas heritage. While the “Tin Hall” on Huffmeister was built earlier and remains active today, Juergen Hall is a typical and fine example of these icons. This dance hall was built in 1911 and was soon damaged by a powerful hurricane of 1915 that caused widespread damage. It was soon repaired and operated from 1911 until the late 1930s. Its original position was the corner of old Hempstead highway and Spring-Cypress Road about 50 yards north and east of the train depot. The building was moved ~1986 about 200 yards northwest to property owned now (2005) by Gene Zaboroski, E.F. Juergen’s grandson. In that location it was used as a hardware and feed store between 1946 and 1984. In 1986, it was restored as a dance hall and meeting place for use by the community. At that time, it was altered to provide air conditioning and living quarters in a rear apartment. It operated between 1986 and 2004.
It is currently closed. The building is sound and has most of its original windows, doors and fixtures. The basic structure has been unaltered from its original construction. The building is sound and should be able to be moved back to its original site without significant complications.
Gene Zaboroski owns this property. It is his desire to see the store preserved as part of a “Cypresstop Historic Park”. This store was purchased (or opened?) by E.F. Juergen in 1898 with a partner named Pillot. In 1903 he bought out Pillot and added a second floor to the store. E.F. operated the store until his death in 1929 and his son Edward H. operated the store until 1932. It was reopened by Clarence Howard Juergen in August 21, 1938. A farm feed and supply business was added in 1941 and in 1946 the store was “modernized with meat, fresh produce and dry goods added. The dry goods were clothing primarily and were placed in oak and glass shelves purchased from Schutte Bros. in Houston when they went out of business. Those cabinets, “modernized meat and vegetable cabinets” are still in the store. The notorious Saloon that sat directly behind the train depot in what is now the middle of old Hempstead Road was closed in July 1919 when prohibition went into effect. Mr. Juergen moved it to another part of his property and turned it into his “new” home. When prohibition ended in 1933, Mr. Juergen added a small bar to his General Store. It operated until the store closed in the early 1990s. This bar has the “bar and stools” from the old saloon. The natural oak wood bar stools are contoured from more than 100 years of continuous use. Oh, the stories they could tell.
Delco Generator House and Grist Mill
Electricity did not find its way to this area until about 1940. However, Mr. Juergen and his buildings had electricity much earlier. In 19??, Mr. Juergen purchased a Delco generator. He built a small building to house the generator. That building and the generator is still on the property, though the generator is no longer in the building and the generator building is no longer in its original location. In the proposed historic park, the generator would be returned to its original building and the manner of its use and importance would be interpreted.
This community was the “center” of a large agricultural community and virtually every farm raised cotton and corn. This community has a gristmill to grind corn for local farmers. The building, though in poor shape still stands along with much of the workings of the mill. The grist stone was given away years ago but it is hoped that it may be returned if the historic park comes to pass. The building is still sound enough to restore.
Juergen Home (or Saloon)
The owner of all these historic buildings, Gene Zaboroski, currently occupies this home. This home was built about 1919 and incorporated the old Cypress Saloon closed and moved to this site when prohibition became the law of the land. This building has not been examined to determine if it would best be restored as a 1919 home or as the original saloon. Mr. Zaboroski is willing to also donate this building to the historic park.